Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More thoughts on the doctrine of Adoption


As I prepared recently for a Galatians sermon I came to some oft sited verses, especially during the Advent season.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

When reading and teaching on this passage my usual focus has been on the planned and purposeful first Advent of Christ as He was “born of a woman”, closely followed with the adjoining purpose phrase- “to redeem those who were under the law.” Christ was sent to redeem us. Hallelujah for sure! Admittedly I spend much of my teaching and preaching energy emphasizing this glorious purpose of God sending Jesus- to redeem us from our sins. Certainly I am not apologizing for speaking so regularly on redemption, the very heart of the Good News. It is right for us to bask in redemption. It is proper for us to worship God with a vigorous emphasis on Christ’s atoning death for our sins. Christ our substitute has bought us with His own life’s blood, we are free from the power and penalty of our sin-may we ever be faithful to meditate on this glorious reality of redemption.

But as I studied this passage recently I was struck with an inextricably linked secondary purpose for God sending Christ. Notice the last part of verse 5 once again-

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Wow. Do you see it? We have been redeemed from the bondage and penalty of sin and to the status of sons and daughters of the King of the Universe!! We are not orphans. We belong to God our Father!! We are the children of God because of redemption! In this light, our primary identity isn’t what we do for a living, what we spend most of our daytime hours engaged in or thinking about, or some hobby we treasure, instead our primary identity is child of God through Christ!! So now, in Christ, as adopted sons and daughters of God, everything God calls us to in this life must be seen through the lens of our adoption. Talk about purpose in life! I hope this encourages you wherever you find yourself in life today, no matter what’s going on. In Jesus Christ, you are God’s beloved child. You are joined together with Christ and His inheritance has become yours. There are manifold blessings that flow to us through our elder brother, Christ, not the least of which is eventual resurrection from the dead and eternal life together with our Father in Heaven (1 Corinthians 15). Praise God for our adoption!

With John I praise God saying- See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1). We are not slaves or orphans my brothers and sisters- we are children of the living God through Christ.

3 comments:

Frontier Forest said...

In pondering the depths of God’s unfathomable love in adopting me, as His child, I thought back to that wonderful night in August 1972, when I became a newly adopted child of the Living God. I was enslaved in sin, I needed to feel clean, brought out of bondage into freedom. That wonderful night I joyfully danced into God’s adopted family! The cleansing power of Christ had actually forgiven me of all my sins, past, present and future! I was adopted into God’s kingdom and was given all the rights and privileges of kingship. I was His ambassador, I was chosen, I have been given a new life, and all the old had passed away!
I found this from the Holman Bible Dictionary; “Adoption is the legal process whereby one person receives another into his family and confers upon that person familial privileges and advantages. The “adopter” assumes parental responsibility for the “adoptee.” The “adoptee” is thereby considered an actual child, becoming the beneficiary of all the rights privileges, and responsibilities afforded to all the children of the family. Adoption becomes the primary way that the believers live and relate to God and other believers. Adoption is an action of the Father based upon the atoning work of Christ.”

Zach said...

Amen, Brother Tony -- Preach it!

Cherie Meek said...

Wow, Thanks for that encouragement, Tony. I still read your blog, on a daily basis. Times have been tough, to say the least. God sees us through a whole different lens. I was in an RCIA class once.......because I want to figure out where God needs me.....and we explored the "Image of God". The image of God never came to mind as an adoptive father, just a father. A leader. A teacher. A friend......but to think that he WANTS us, LOVES us, FORMED us because he WANTED us.....ADOPTED us and could care less what existential things exist about us........I can't even wrap my human mind around. ADOPTED, bought with a heavy price; ADOPTED, loved with a WHOLE heart and SOUND mind; ADOPTED to bring JOY and to LOVE in return......your post hit home.

Thanks and God Bless!